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Brands should stand for something more than price

February 1, 2011

We have a think called lunch and learn at EMA. (Mostly) every Tuesday, someone from EMA stands up in their office and talks about what they know. The presentation is beamed to all the other offices. Today, Mark Russell, senior partner at EMA, gave a presentation on what he learned at a recent AMA meeting.

In the presentation, he said a lot of things, I want to touch on two of them.

1. Stand for something.

In an era of social media, brands need to stand for something. If they don’t, the community will define what the brand stands for.

Now, all that said, it can’t be half-assed. BP already showed by standing for Beyond Petroleum in their ad campaign wasn’t a good long-term strategy.

Exhibit A for standing for something is this new campaign from BMW (a favorite here at PLTS). It’s from their Documentary series (?), and it’s about a city without cars.

Now, the cynic will wonder the following: why on earth is a car company talking about a city without cars? Well, there are a number of reasons why this is awesome. First, it stops you in your tracks. It’s beautifully produced, and the movies within the movie trick are freaking awesome. Second, why can’t a car company be about fewer cars in certain places? If people in NYC (or other mega cities) bought fewer cars, that doesn’t mean BMW will sell fewer cars. There are more than enough people around who still need four wheels. The market ain’t going anywhere.

There are most-likely a lot of other companies that stand for something and are worth a look. Credo mobile is another example.

But this brings me to the other thing I heard:

2. The other USP is Unique Selling Personality.

I like this because digital and social media offer the chance to show off personality. Before social media (or websites in general), personality was manufactured through print or TV ads. And that’s okay. Some of the best brands were built on TV and print. They have a personality that resonated with their target market.

But social media offers the chance to showcase personality on a minute to minute basis. Because when a brand speaks in their tone on social media, they are showing off their unique personality. This, of course, means a number of things:

  1. Hiring an intern to speak on behalf of the brand isn’t wise.
  2. The role of community manager is more important than you thought.
  3. The above role isn’t entry-level.
  4. Define a personality in digital/social media and stick to it.
  5. That previous point is hard.

There is more to think about. I wish you could have seen the presentation, it really has my brain spinning.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 1, 2011 11:47 pm

    Great post. If your two points can be executed naturally, and not seem forced or unnatural, this will also go a long way with consumers and prospects that follow the brand on social media.

    Good Hunting.

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